Norman was born on Jan. 3, 1928 in Beatrice, Neb., the youngest of three boys to Guy and Grace Thornburg. He passed away peacefully on June 6, 2016, following a long battle with Alzheimer's and Dementia.
Norm grew up south of Beatrice on the family ranch and farm and graduated from North Platte High School in 1945. While in high school during World War II, he trained a turkey to pull a small covered wagon.
During the Nebraska State Fair, he led the turkey around the show ring dressed as Uncle Sam, pulling the star-spangled wagon to promote purchase of war bonds. To his surprise, the next edition of the Lincoln, Neb., paper had his picture on the front page.
After high school, Norm enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served during World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. In 1958, Norm married Esther Brown to whom he was married for more than 57 years.
While stationed in Salt Lake City with the Navy, he played fast pitch softball on the Fort Douglas softball team. He often spoke fondly of his teammates.
Norm retired from the Navy after 20 years as a Yeoman, at the rank of E-7 Chief Petty Officer on Submarines and on the Admiral's Staff. After retiring, he settled in Nampa, Idaho, but moved shortly after to Mountain Home and worked in the Legal Office on Mountain Home Air Force Base as a court reporter and general "Answer Man" with Civil Service.
After retiring from Civil Service, several farms in the area, both large and small, asked him to handle the day to day administration of the farms so they could concentrate on what they do best -- farm. He also built a custom meat cutting shop and did custom meat cutting for many years.
During those years, you never knew what you would find in the walk in cooler.
Norm was always willing to help anyone who asked. He often did legal work for families who had no where else to turn, never expecting anything in return.
He made many friends over the years and enjoyed exploring the outdoors with them. He was an avid fisherman and bird hunter, but it was more about getting out into nature. He always said catching fish or shooting birds was just a bonus.
Norm was a member of several churches in the area and was a founding member of Grace Lutheran Church at the time of his passing.
Norm was preceded in death by his parents; his two brothers, Keith and Don; and his first wife, Barbara Gardiner. Norm is survived by his wife Esther, daughter Tisha, son Curtis (Shawna) and two grandsons Alex and Daniel.
We love you, Dad, and will miss your smile, laugh, and wisdom.
The family would like to thank Bridgette and her staff at Ashley Manor in Mountain Home for their care of Dad and Encompass Home Health and Hospice for their therapy and hospice work with Dad. You all made a big difference.